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Ayodhya Prepares for the Grand Opening of the Shree Ram Temple

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Ayodhya, the holy city in India, is set to partially unveil the grand temple dedicated to Lord Ram. This elaborate ceremony, scheduled for Monday, has witnessed the arrival of about 80 chartered flights at Ayodhya’s newly constructed international airport, emphasizing the global significance of the occasion.

Ayodhya’s airport, barely able to accommodate the influx of private jets, is abuzz with activity. Airport manager Saurabh Singh confirmed that the chartered planes will depart after dropping off the distinguished guests who are set to attend this historic event.

The controversial temple, built over a razed mosque, has garnered immense attention, with political opposition leaders boycotting the opening, claiming it contradicts the principles of a secular India. Despite the controversy, the guest list includes some of India’s most influential figures, such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

The temple, sacred to one of Hinduism’s revered deities, Lord Ram, holds immense cultural and religious significance. Millions of Hindus believe that Lord Ram was born at the exact site in Ayodhya, making this temple a symbol of devotion and spirituality.

The mythological epic “Ramayan” narrates Lord Ram’s journey from prince to king, emphasizing virtues like truth, sacrifice, and ethical governance. Lord Ram’s influence extends beyond India; countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia consider him a cultural heritage figure.

As the temple, still under construction, prepares for consecration, it stands as a testament to a harmonious blend of traditional design and cutting-edge technology. Crafted without the use of iron, steel, or cement, the temple, spread over nearly 3 hectares, boasts an estimated cost of $217 million. Adorned with intricate carvings, the temple features 46 doors, 42 of which will be layered with gold.

The consecration ceremony, known as “Pran Pratishtha,” involves giving life to the idol of Lord Ram, symbolizing the deity’s ability to receive and bless devotees. Following this event, the temple will open its doors to an estimated 100,000 devotees daily.

Ayodhya, known for its narrow lanes filled with Hindu pilgrims, has transformed with modern infrastructure and services. The city’s airstrip has evolved into an expansive international airport, reflecting the historical and spiritual significance of Ayodhya as a compelling destination.

However, the temple’s construction has not been without controversy. Ayodhya has been a focal point of India’s turbulent politics, with Hindu majoritarianism overshadowing its diverse, multicultural past. The 2019 legal victory for Hindus to build the temple marked a turning point, yet critics argue that the fusion of religion and politics, led by Prime Minister Modi, challenges India’s constitutionally secular state.

As India braces for the grand opening, critics and opposition leaders express concern over the event being used for political campaigning by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Modi’s call for public celebrations, lighting lamps at homes and temples, underscores the political mobilization of Hindu voters in the upcoming national election.

The unveiling of the grand temple in Ayodhya not only marks a significant religious event but also fuels the ongoing debate about the intersection of religion and politics in India’s diverse and secular landscape.

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